Monday, 22 June 2009

Cycling City - New Killer Lanes

I may have remarked before on the sheer incompetence of the so-called 'cycling officers' employed by our local authorities. Well here's a classic example from Cycling City partner South Glos (Bristol will be dealt with, yet again, shortly). It's a brand new 'facility' installed in connection with works on the bridge over the main line railway at Patchway on the north Bristol fringe (see map below).

Looking northwards from the bridge we see that the main road (and main 'desire line') swings around to the right to cross the A38 Gloucester Road on another bridge which can just be made out in the upper right of the picture. This bridge is strategically important to cyclists as it is the only decent means of crossing the A38 between Gypsy Patch Lane and Aztec West. Yet looking more closely (below) we see that the new cycle lane leads northwards onto the A38 and makes it very difficult and dangerous to follow the main traffic stream around to the right.

There have already been unconfirmed reports of a female cyclists being knocked-off her bike here and taken to hospital just a week ago. I tested it myself yesterday and found it difficult to establish my intention to follow the main route around to the right, despite appropriate hand signals (I should explain for the benefit of non-cyclists that hand signals alone are generally ignored by motorists. It is your 'positioning' as a cyclist that is most important and which sets up an expectation of your intentions with following motorists). Another cyclist (unknown to me) trying out the 'facility' reports -
"As I looked ahead, I could see that it did not offer a facility that I would be able to negotiate at 'commuting' speed. I thus looked behind and indicated right to move reasonably far out on to the main carriageway. My intent at this point was to avoid any motorist overtaking me and turning left (northbound), cutting me up in the process.

Shortly after, I heard a horn sound and was then overtaken by a car driven by a woman, with a man leaning out of the front passenger window shouting obscenities (including the words 'get out of the f*cking way, you are on a bike, not in a f*cking car'). Clearly, this person believed that I should have religiously followed the green cycle lane, however inappropriate for my journey."

Meanwhile more cycle 'facilities' are proposed by South Glos in the north fringe around UWE and Bristol Parkway station. The plans have already been condemned by local cyclists in deservedly forthright terms but it looks as if they are going ahead with them anyway. So much for consultation under the arrogant Cycling City regime.

Welcome to Cycling City. Incompetent 'cycling officers' ignoring cyclists' advice and turning out ill-conceived cycle 'facilities' that actually put cyclists at greater risk than would be the case with a standard highway design, coupled with aggressive and foul mouthed motorists ignoring hand signals and resenting the intrusion of cyclists into 'their' space. Until such time as we get shot of these "Better by Bike" Buffoons I suggest that every cyclist treats every new cycle facility with extreme caution.


Jon Rogers said...

Hi Chris

I have asked the obvious questions about this cycle lane and will respond when I hear more.


Chris Hutt said...

Thanks for the lightning quick response Jon. I've just seen emails that suggest concern about this cycle lane was raised at the beginning of the month, so there is the question of why nothing has been done. I'm not exaggerating when I say that this is a seriously dangerous arrangement.

Cap'n said...

stay out of cycle lanes they are dangerous !!!!!!